Why I’m reviewing a book
I’ll tell you right now, for someone who likes to write, and read articles online, I am NOT a book reader. I never have been. Strange, right?
Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t see immense value in having books available to you. The Internet is an amazing resource for information, but without power, we have no Internet. It’s only smart to have some books on hand. Even though I typically pass on reading books, I have quite a few sitting on a shelf here in my office just in case. Here are some examples of what I try to keep:
- Plant identification guides
- First aid and medicine guides
- Military field manuals
- Gardening and preservation guides
To that point, I spent quite some time ensuring Survivehive is printer-friendly. Survivehive automatically hides certain parts of the page when you select print, so that only the important part is printed. I highly recommend printing any articles you see and like for offline use! If the power goes out, or your Internet connection is lost for an extended period, you’ll still have access to the information as presented!
I got off on a bit of a tangent there, and normally, I would edit that, but I feel like it’s an important point to be made: If you’re reading this, you read articles online, but you should NOT discount the value of hard-copy books, even if you are like me and rarely read them.
Now, to the point. Recently, Jim Cobb from Survival Weekly approached me to do a review on his new book “Countdown to Preparedness – The Prepper’s 52-Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness.” To be honest, I was skeptical for a few reasons:
- I don’t read books.
- I really didn’t believe that much could be accomplished in a year
- I have a short attention span, project here, project there, I really didn’t see myself being able to stick to a 52-week course. I figured I’m not the only one either.
I had heard good things about Jim’s writing, so I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt, and a few days later I had a package containing Jim’s book. Here’s what I thought:
They say you should never judge a book by it’s cover, and whether that’s true or false, my initial impression was good. The book is a great size for throwing in a backpack, the cover is attractive, and it’s just a well put-together book. Flipping it over to the back, Countdown to Preparedness boasts that it will help you:
- Learn to stock, treat, use and reuse the most important survival item of all – water.
- Store enough food to feed your family for three months without breaking the bank.
- Develop the emergency skills to respond effectively to any catastrophic event.
- Fortify and protect your home with affordable and manageable DIY projects.
- Create a prepper savings account to ensure your family’s well-being.
Well! This sounds fantastic!
I opened it up and started reading through it. The first thing that stood out to me was that Jim gives his personal email address in the front for questions, help, and even if you just need some encouragement. I found this to be surprisingly cool! I can’t imagine how many emails he gets each day, but the fact that he is truly invested in helping you get prepared, not just slinging his wares, speaks volumes!
Jim takes on less of a “preach preparedness” role, and more of a “prepper mentor” role, which I truly appreciated. Reading the book was pretty easy because Jim writes with a tone you would expect in a normal conversation, including a few humorous quips here and there. It’s pretty amazing how it feels like 1 on 1 instruction when simply reading his text.
The interesting part of this book is that it doesn’t follow your typical chapter layout. The book is broken down into weeks, and each week starts with a page or two of explanation, followed by an assignment for the week. The assignments vary, but they typically involve buying a few cans of food, practicing a skill, storing a little water, and setting aside some money. Even I have time for that!
Another cool thing about the layout, is that you do not need to follow it in order. If it’s week 2, and I just happen to be planning my garden, I can jump to week 12 right now. I love the flexibility, because hey, maybe I don’t want to do what this week has in store for me right at this moment!
Below, I’ll share with you a couple quick examples of the material covered:
Countdown to Preparedness leads you through getting an inventory completed. It makes perfect sense, as it’s important to know what you’re starting with, and where you’re lacking. I highly recommend checking out our Preparedness Checklist Generator to help you with that. You can completely customize the checklist and you’ll end up with a printable organized way of keeping track of your current inventory, and your preps as they grow throughout the course.
Countdown to Preparedness gives solutions to dealing with human waste during/after a disaster. It’s not a fun subject, but neither is disaster, right? Another solution in addition to those Jim mentions is a “Macerator Pump.” I built one, and provided a tutorial. If you’re interested in seeing that, you can do so: here.
As a HAM Radio Operator, I was happy to see Countdown to Preparedness cover the subject of HAM Radio Licensing. Jim make’s a great point, which I too have stated time and time again: The concept that “I don’t need a license, because if SHTF, nobody will be enforcing it anyway” is flawed! Just like you need to practice with your rifle, you need to practice with your radio! If you’re interested in learning about HAM Radio, or getting your license, go check out our Amateur (HAM) Radio Licensing post!
Week 49 will be my last example of the material covered only because I don’t want to give too much away. In Week 49, Countdown to Preparedness underlines the importance of a “Prepper Library,” sound familiar? Print those pages here on Survivehive, grab those books at the flee-markets, and have reference material when you don’t have Internet! It’s only smart!
If you stuck with the program, and followed all the assignments, not only did you learn tons (I have learned plenty, and I’ve been in the lifestyle for awhile,) but you also built yourself a decent start to your food and water storage! This is what you would have on hand at the end of the course:
- 156 cans of canned vegetables
- 104 cans of canned fruit
- 52 cans of canned meat
- 52 cans of canned soup
- 6 canisters or boxes of oatmeal
- 25 cans of canned chili or stew
- 25 packages or jars of gravy
- 5 jars of peanut butter
- 11 boxes of granola or protein bars
- 5 jars of jelly or fruit preserves
- 10 jars of pasta sauce
- 3 canisters of salt
- 5 boxes of baking mix
- 11 boxes (132 packages) of Ramen noodles
- 17 pounds of white rice
- 5 jars of instant coffee
- 10 packages of dry soup
- 3 bags of cornmeal
- 5 boxes of tea
- 14 pounds of dry beans
- 5 boxes of crackers
- 15 pounds of pasta
- 5 boxes of powdered milk
- 2 boxes of instant potatoes
- 10 pounds of flour
- 8 pounds of sugar
- 2 bottles of multivitamins
- 2 jars of honey
- 3 canisters of flavored drink mix
- 4 gallons of cooking oil
- 3 packages of nuts, dried fruit, and trail mix
You also have
- At least 52 gallons of water
- Nearly $700 in “Prepper Savings”
This is quite the feat for what has proven to be pretty minimal spending each week!
I like the way this book is laid out like a self-paced course. I like the presentation of how Jim explains each step. I like the short “chapters.” I like the easy to accomplish assignments each week. I like the material covered throughout. I like the end result.
Most importantly, I really like the book! I started out this post by saying how infrequently I read books, and how little I enjoy it. Well, I enjoyed the heck out of this book! It has a permanent home on my bookshelf! I plan to go back and complete the course in it’s entirety just to add a little extra to my own food and water stores.
Ultimately, I am thoroughly impressed! I try to be very critical when doing reviews, especially for products that I received for free. I think it’s very important to provide honest criticism in such cases, and I can truthfully say that I have no criticism for Jim on this one! Countdown to Preparedness is a phenomenal way to get started in prepping, and looks like it will be great for me to brush up on a few skills as well as add to my storage.
I absolutely recommend this book to everyone interested in prepping, or already started alike! Great work Jim!
If you would like to buy Countdown to Preparedness, you can grab it from Amazon below: